Old Stadium sticking around until ’10

Let the 'he's in good shape' talk begin
Winter: A time for statistics

In today’s Times, Harvey Araton wrote a meandering column on the fate of old Yankee Stadium. Notable in his piece is the news that the city won’t get around to completing the destruction of the old cathedral until spring 2010, and he plays off of this painfully slow timetable.

The Mayor’s Office explained the slow pace of deconstruction to Araton:

PART I “The primary reason Yankee Stadium has not started demolition is that the new stadium and its offices have just now become available for occupancy.” But if New York schoolchildren can learn in trailers when there is a shortage of building space, why couldn’t the Yankees have conducted business in a temporary shelter for a few short months to expedite the demolition process?

PART II “The demolition of Yankee Stadium, with a lot of adjacent construction, utility work and proximity to the elevated subway structure, requires a complicated public procurement process.” But if demolition is so complicated, how has Shea Stadium — not as cramped but similarly flanked by a new stadium and an elevated subway — been largely flattened, piece by piece, since October, with the job expected to be completed next month?

Hogi’s point about construction priorities is one that cannot be hammered home enough. When it is in the baseball team’s interest to demolish a stadium so there will be enough parking by opening day, the old ballpark can’t come down soon enough. When the existing stadium site has been designated for replacement park baseball fields, the community can wait — in the case of Heritage Field on the existing old Stadium site, until at least fall 2011, or three years after the last major league pitch.

As I predicted when the bond issue reached its conclusion, the parkland replacement problems are going to emerge to the forefront of stories surrounding the stadium. And it is a problem because the South Bronx — the nation’s poorest Congressional district — needs its parkland.

“That’s going take at least two years because the city’s priority is the Yankees, not the neighborhood,” Joyce Hogi, a member of the Community Board 4 parks committee, said to Araton.

There’s a lot of cynicism in Araton’s article, but there’s a lot of truth to it too. This time, though, the problem falls on the shoulders of the city. As much as the baseball traditionalist in me doesn’t want to see Yankee Stadium ever destroyed, the city must make good on its promise to replace the parks lost to the new Stadium. The Macombs Dam Park closed in Augusth 2006. It’s going to take five years to replace that space, and the South Bronx will suffer because of it.

Let the 'he's in good shape' talk begin
Winter: A time for statistics
  • John

    what i like about RAB is that they post things even on weekends when most others dont or do it at a minimum

  • deadrody

    I don’t think it’s that dire. They already replaced a large parking lot with a track and other fields. Frankly, I don’t see how they have any excuse. The yankees will be out completely in the near future and stadium demolition can be done from the inside.

  • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

    It’s be nice if some of the ticket sales from Yankee games went directly to benefit people in the South Bronx.

  • http://www.bronxbaseballdaily.com Rob Abruzzese

    There is an elevated subway near Shea, but it isn’t right on top of it like it is at Yankee Stadium. Also, Yankee Stadium has a subway running under it as well. I don’t know if that has any effect or not, but it should be noted.

  • Ed

    Shea came down quickly because Citifield overlaps where Shea was. They couldn’t finish the new stadium without tearing down the old one, so they planned to make the demolition go as smoothly as possible. There was no urgency with Yankee Stadium.

  • steve (different one)

    But if demolition is so complicated, how has Shea Stadium — not as cramped but similarly flanked by a new stadium and an elevated subway — been largely flattened, piece by piece, since October, with the job expected to be completed next month?

    uhhh, maybe because if the weather this winter was too harsh to finish the constuction of the two stadiums, the Yankees and Mets would need somewhere to play this season???

    no….there is no way the author would miss this blatantly obvious point, is there?

    • http://www.puristbleedspinstripes.com Rebecca-Optimist Prime

      Except people do construction in every type of weather.

      • steve (different one)

        that doesn’t mean you don’t allow yourself a contingency plan.

  • steve (different one)

    also, if you’ve been to Shea, it basically sits in the middle of a parking lot surrounded by nothing.

    Yankee stadium sits in the middle of an actual neighborhood with people and businesses.

    the destruction of Shea is simply much less complicated.

    another pretty obvious point.

  • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

    But if demolition is so complicated, how has Shea Stadium — not as cramped but similarly flanked by a new stadium and an elevated subway — been largely flattened, piece by piece, since October, with the job expected to be completed next month?

    Uhhh … Shea isn’t THAT close to subway. Not enough to delay demolition anyway. If you’re doing any kind of work adjacent to the subway – meaning on a street with either a tunnel/station below or above ground – it’s an entirely different permit process.

    The demo at Shea has basically been smash smash smash, then come in with machines to pick up the rubble. Yankee Stadium is in the middle of a pretty dense urban area. Shea’s just kind of out there by itself, hundreds of yards from any private houses/business.

    • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

      http://tinyurl.com/d7jyjt

      Yeah, you can’t do that in the South Bronx.

      • http://poormansanalyst.wordpress.com/ dan

        good point.

    • 27 this year

      Do you guys talk to each other before you make a post?

      • http://www.riveraveblues.com Mike A.

        Sometimes. That was a quote from the article though, not something Ben wrote.

        • 27 this year

          Yea, I know, I was just curious.

  • D.B.H.O.F. p.k.a Don Corleone

    “That’s going take at least two years because the city’s priority is the Yankees, not the neighborhood,” Joyce Hogi, a member of the Community Board 4 parks committee, said to Araton.

    Joyce Hogi grow up. Without the Yankees there is NO neighborhood. You see any other BILLION dollar businesses flocking to the Boogie Down BX? I have spent much of my working like in the Bronx on and off and without the Yankees being there it would be much worse off than it is.

    I use to get mad when George would threaten to move to Jersey or Manhattan some years back but whenever I see stuff like this I really do not see why he did not. If I looked at the Yankees as just a business and not the team and tradition I root for I would have moved them somewhere in North Jersey and made a MINT.

    The Yanks really could have moved to Jersey and done better $ wise, and did not so I really cringe when I hear this sort of bunk.

    • A Hind

      there would be a neighborhood without the Yankees there, just like there are neighborhoods all over NYC with out sports teams all around them, and even though the yankees and there millions sits in the middle of the neighborhood the wealth of the team is doing nothing to help the lives of the poor people working in that neighborhood. just think about how you would feel if next to your house they tore down a park were you played all your life and gave you nothing to play in, even if your favorite team moved into the neighborhood, not to mention that you cant afford the tickets for a game.

  • http://newstadiuminsider.blogspot.com/2009/01/tear-old-dump-down-its-for-kids.html Ross (NewStadiumInsider.com)

    I have strong feelings about this since I played high school sports on those fields..

    http://newstadiuminsider.blogspot.com/2009/01/tear-old-dump-down-its-for-kids.html

  • Derek

    The thought of tearing the most hallowed sports stadium in the world down, to say nothing of the environmental concerns of tearing down a stadium so close to the new stadium and occupied housing. Can you imagine the dust, debris and subsequent respiratory illnesses they will bring, to say nothing of the subsequent lawsuits? I always felt sufficient money could be raised giving tours of the stadium to buy land to replace what was lost. How many people took the tours last year? It was a huge #. There has to be a way of salvaging the stadium while using the land inside it for little league/high school games. You mean to say there aren’t architects who could figure something out to satisfy everyone? They’re talking about 3 ball fields in the proposed park. The easy thing to do would be to simply level the stadium, but future generations will have no chance to see it. I fear we’re being shortsighted here. The stadium belongs to sports fans everywhere and in every era that comes after us.

  • Andrew

    Only the great Yankees can have two ballparks.